St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Magnificat anima mea Dominum!

Unlike a simple visit, a visitation is different owing to the purpose intended by the get-together. A visitation aims to accomplish something. Specifically, a visitation is an encounter that carries within it a meaning that is exceptional. In the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that meaning is not a "message" but rather the exceptional presence of the Son she carries within her womb. We can be certain that the mystery of the Visitation is effective in our life if we do now, before Jesus is born, what Christ will command us to do as he dies: "Behold, your mother." Magnificat, May 2006

"We have invoked her in a special way during this month of May, but the month of May cannot end. It has to continue in our life, because our veneration and our love for her, the devotion we have to Our Lady cannot disappear from our hearts, but rather has to grow and express itself in a witness of Christian living, fashioned according to the example of Mary, 'the name of the beautiful flower that I ever invoke morning and evening', as Dante put it." (Paradiso, 23, 88).
John Paul II Homily, 25 May 1979

Monday, May 29, 2006

I thought this was an interesting meditation to re-post as we near the feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth.

"....Woman's soul is....fashioned to be a shelter in which other souls may unfold. Both spiritual companionship and spiritual motherliness are not limited to the physical spouse and mother relationships, but they extend to all people with whom woman comes into contact."

"Woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth is her natural, maternal yearning."

Saint Edith Stein

Friday, May 26, 2006

"Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits." Saint Philip Neri

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Prayer of the Solemnity of the Ascension

God our Father, make us joyful in the ascension of your Son Jesus Christ. May we follow him into the new creation, for his ascension is our glory and our hope. We ask this though our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Society of the Little Flower

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay awhile and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same."

Visit: Society of The Little Flower

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Saints Shine Like the Sun, Re-posted

Life is happening here in my corner of the world at a rapid fast pace; because of that, I'm reposting one of my past meditations until I have more time available. You are welcome to search through the archives and there are also several wonderful blogs to check out along the left margin under the blogroll.

God Bless You!

What we find ravishing in a small child is his transparency. He attracts us without our focusing on ourselves. In some way, he makes an infinite presence tangible to us and binds us again to the divine Source like a sacrament of light. For how many fathers were the tears welling up in their eyes in the presence of their grace-filled child the divine dew that made prayer rise in their heart.

At certain times, the child, in truth, enlightens and purifies us by making us permeable to this mysterious flux which invades the being in a state of openness. Works of art, in their own way, produce a similar effect, like everything that is truly transparent here below.

The proud hurt us because they are opaque. They lock up everything within themselves and imprison us within their own limitations.

Saints free us by allowing a divine light to shine within themselves. In each one of us there is a mystical vocation, most of the time unaware of itself. Our personal self crushes us and we need to be “healed” of ourselves. We are truly happy only when we lose sight of ourselves and disappear into what is beyond ourselves. We would like to have our bondage point in someone else. We are obscurely worked upon by this aspiration which drives saints to identify themselves with God by placing their true self in Him: “And now, it is no longer I who live, God is the one who lives in me.” That is, basically the motto for all of them and it is also ours inasmuch as we discover again this childlike quality of the soul beatified in the Gospel.

Father Maurice Zundel
(+1975) Swiss mystic, poet, philosopher, liturgist and author

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Marian Baskets Re-visited

I had blogged on this topic earlier in the month, about creating these little devotional baskets, per my friend Alice's information at: Cottage Blessings; follow the link to Alice's blog for more info.

My second grade religious ed class made Marian May Baskets this last weekend. They were so excited about it and so pleased with them. Later, we decided that grandma, my mother, needed a special one made by us to help cheer her up this month; the second anniversary of my father's death arrives the 24th, and his birthday the 27th. My parents would have been celebrating 50 years of marriage last Friday, on the twelfth, and at the mass my mother attended this last weekend, a couple's marriage was blessed for their fifty years together. Grandma was feeling a bit down. We made her basket as beautiful as possible using different swatches of tissue paper, fresh sprigs of Ivy, a beautiful yellow rose bud with baby's breath, some delicate fern, a rosary, several Marian holy cards, (and a Divine Mercy one, her special devotion), a Smilie paper clip :), a copy of a Mary, Star of the Sea poem/prayer; last, we attached a heart shaped tag on it signed from all to her. We could tell it truly helped!

This made me think that this would be an excellent project for homeschool groups, women's clubs and other apostolates that would like to cheer up their Catholic shut-ins at home and those staying in nursing facilities. We're only half-way through May, it's not too late to do this! While we have done other Marian craft items to give honor and bring awareness to Mary in the month of May, I think this one is very sweet! We are going to add this to our tradition, both at home and religious education in the classroom.

Thank you so much Alice for sharing your creativity and photos. I don't have digital photo equipment for my computer yet - but when I do, I'll be sure to upload pictures of these precious moments when we are involved in them.

Mary, Our Lady, Star of the Sea, Pray for Us!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother: Heart of the Domestic Church

As a follow-up to Mother's Day, you might want to read this great article, sent to me by my friend Lisa, authored by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle at Catholic Exchange. It begins:

“The family should be your place of encounter with God,” our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II told us. As mothers, we need to realize that this is indeed true. We meet God each day in the smiles and in the tears of our children. He is there in our laundry rooms as we work hard, keeping things clean and in order for our families. He is present during our intimate dinner conversations, during our disagreements and also in the quiet of the home. He is deep down in the hearts of our families.

We Have the Power

Our homes are our domestic Churches. We must strive to find God there. We must come to be satisfied with our work in the home, acknowledging the fact that it is far more important than what we can achieve outside its doors. We have come to realize that we have actually assisted our Lord in creating human life! Our children should be able to count on our presence to them, as well as our dedication and unconditional love for them. Let us pray that there will be peace in our hearts, knowing that our Lord is pleased with our selfless acts of loving service to our families.

The vocation of motherhood calls for flexibility, patience, creativity and the giving of oneself. A mother’s role is a self-sacrificing one. She puts her interests and desires on hold the moment she finds that a new soul has been conceived within her. Her offspring's desires become her desires. She becomes very naturally and lovingly involved in every aspect of her child's development. Her heart expands with each new precious life entrusted to her. The motherly seeds of love that God has sown within her being begin to spring forth and blossom, as she nurtures her children tenderly and selflessly. She realizes her purpose in this world and embraces even the suffering that she must endure bringing each new soul forth to see the light of day.

We, as mothers, have within us the power to create either a happy, loving home where our family can retreat from the world, or one that is full of discord and unhappiness. It is so true that we are the heart of the home. When we are not fully present to our families, there is usually chaos in one form or another. Our children can become or feel lost, lonely, confused, or misdirected and may even feel unloved. It is important to be present to our children. If we are not at the moment, then we should make every effort to make changes necessary to be there for them. We should avoid, whenever possible, having our children come home to an empty house without us there to welcome them. (Read the rest of the article by following this LINK).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell.
Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.

Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for Us.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dear Lord,
When the pressures of life seem overwhelming, when my daily duties yield little fruit, when I have worked hard at relationships to no avail......I grow discouraged. I lose heart. Fortitude wanes. I become disheartened. In these moments when I am rocked by the waves of life, steady me. Draw me close to Your Sacred Heart. Anchor me in Your love. Give me the stamina to stand firm, the grace to hope again, and the faith to know You will never leave me. Amen.

(Grace-Filled Moments, Benkovic)

May 12: Yes, a few of you have noticed that this prayer has been posted before. You might be able to tell what kind of mood I'm in by it :) I do find it helpful in expressing that challenge of acceptance, when relationships are perhaps not going as well as they could and you are ready to throw in the towel. Later, I'd like to talk a little about such relationships, using St. Mark the Evangelist as an example.

God bless!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Saint Benedict Center

Saint Benedict Center
The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Saint Benedict Center has a lot to offer, including their truly Catholic publication: From The Housetops, which their introduction to states:

"From The Housetops" is a Catholic magazine dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary while promoting her cause in the present conflict with the powers of darkness."

"The purpose of From The Housetops as the name implies, is to proclaim to all, the authentic doctrines in faith and morals of the One True Church in a clear and uncompromising manner in the face of ever increasing dissent and confusion among clergy, religious and laity."

Is there Salvation outside the Catholic Church? Here is part of an excerpt from an article at the St. Benedict Center website:

The History of Father Leonard Feeney and Saint Benedict Center

Described as colorful, talented, devoted and controversial, Father Leonard Feeney holds a unique place in 20th Century Catholicism.

Throughout his 50 years of priestly service, Father Feeney taught and defended the Catholic faith with apostolic fervor. As poet, essayist and lecturer he entertained as he taught. As preacher he warned with prophetic zeal.

Most people know Father Feeney as the principle figure in a storm of doctrinal controversy back in the 1940s and into the early 1950s.

He is known as the priest who taught that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. And most people are under the impression that he was excommunicated for his stubborn profession of faith.

The mixing of fact and fiction, truth and misrepresentation has clouded Father Feeney’s story throughout the years. It is our hope that this presentation will clarify and bring to light the story, the issues – the man and his mission.

For the rest of this article, click on this LINK.

"The Catholic Faith is rich with the truth and wisdom which alone gives the real peace and happiness everyone seeks." From The Housetops

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Blessing of Friends

by your St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Exchange moderator: "Moderator" a.k.a. Denise:

I have heard it said that each friend opens up a world within us, one that didn't exist until they arrived. It is true, friendship is a gift and each friend is a unique addition to our lives. Although a gift, precious indeed, friendship does take work, understanding and communication. It might take the extra effort of overcoming obstacles or set backs perhaps due to some unusual circumstances. I always think about how patient and enduring friendships of old must have been with less avenues of communication; rapid communications such as the internet, or even a simple phone call didn't yet exist, but friendships did. How long someone must have waited to hear from their friend by letter or visit; and how much longing they may have had, and how much intentional effort was put into achieving communication and communion with them; and then, how much rejoicing and comfort when that communication or visit finally materialized. We certainly take a lot for granted these days.

I just said good-bye to some dear friends whom I haven't seen in nearly twenty years and have known since childhood; they came from west to east, across the country to visit. Visiting hasn't been easy due to distance, time and money, along with our busy and growing families, husbands' jobs and other business that seem to monopolize our lives. But, when brought to fruition, visits like these are priceless. The graces received are joyous and abundant; a wonderful blessing.

The blessing of friends; right now, at this moment in time, means that while I'm still rejoicing in gratefulness for friends that have lasted a lifetime, I'm waiting patiently for others and trusting in their friendships. There's the email that hasn't yet been answered, that I anxiously await, the phone call that hasn't yet been returned; along with the book, tapes and Tupperware that are still out there.....the coffee date that's still pending, and the letter that still needs written.

"Angels bestow grace and perform miracles; so do our friends. Angels are Divine messengers; so are friends. God speaks to us through all those intimate chats, conversations and confessions. Probably because, if we'll listen to anyone, it's a pal who loves us unconditionally and is committed to our happiness.....Our friends are the jewels in our crown of contentment. We need to treat them as preciously as we truly hold them in our hearts."

~Sarah Ban Breathnach~

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Beauty of "Visits"

On May 31st, we commemorate the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. "Visits" have intrigued me recently, as I have set out to pay very intentional visits to those who I don't have a chance to see regularly, and I in turn, have been the recipient of visitors, some whom I haven't seen since early adulthood. Interestingly, "visits" have shown up in my meditational reading in a number of sources. And so it is, I think "visits" are... well...... worth visiting this month of May. I'll be blogging thoughts through this month on this topic; what makes visits good and holy and worth the effort; and worth pondering from a Christian perspective.

"This feast [The Visitation] which we close the month dedicated to Mary, proclaims to us her meditation, her spirit of service and her profound humility. It teaches us to carry the spirit of Christian happiness with us wherever we go, so that, like Mary, we shall be continually a source of joy for all mankind." (In Conversation with God, Special Feasts, Vol. 6)

Monday, May 01, 2006

May, the Month of Mary

It's May, the month of Mary, beginning today with the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. I'm seeing blogs with wonderful Marian devotions, ceremonies, processions, crownings, May altars to honor the Blessed Mother; and over at Cottage Blessings my friend Alice lends help in creating a beautiful Marian May Basket. So nice for children to get involved in and nourish their devotion to our Blessed Mother. Click on Cottage Blessings for the main page and scroll down to see the photos of the May baskets in progress. There are other informative posts on creating both St. Joseph & Mary May devotional baskets and creative ideas for all that is needed for this beautiful endeavor to honor of our Blessed Mother.

O Mary Conceived Without Sin, Pray for Us Who Have Recourse to Thee.

Pontiff Hails Mary as Mother and Teacher
Calls May a Time to Rediscover Her Role

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 30, 2006 (Zenit)- Benedict XVI proposes May to be a time to rediscover the role of the Virgin Mary in Christian life.

After Christ's resurrection, when the apostles gathered with her, Mary was for them both "mother and teacher, a role she continues to carry out for Christians of all times," the Pope said today before praying the Regina Caeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"Every year, during Eastertide, we live this experience more intensely and, perhaps, precisely for this reason, popular tradition has consecrated the month of May, which normally falls between Easter and Pentecost, to Mary," the Holy Father said.

The Bishop of Rome invited the faithful to rediscover in the coming month "the maternal role she carries out in our lives, so that we may always be docile disciples and courageous witnesses of the risen Lord."

Benedict XVI entrusted to Mary "the needs of the Church and of the world, especially at this moment marked by not a few shadows."

The Pope invited those present to invoke the intercession of St. Joseph, whom the Church will remember on Monday as worker, especially for the labor world.

The Holy Father will begin the month of May by praying the rosary Monday afternoon at the Shrine of Divine Love, near Rome.